Doug Collins had sweat dripping down his face. He looked as if he had just participated in a full court press.
His appearance had not come about from work on the hardwood, however. Instead, Collins had been working hard for the charity Philabundance. Along with his coaching staff, Collins joined other volunteers Wednesday evening to put together boxes of food for those who may otherwise not be able to have a Thanksgiving meal next Thursday.
Thanksgiving happens to be Collins favorite holiday. No gifts, no pressure, just a day to enjoy family, friends and food. When Collins was a broadcaster, if given the choice between working Thanksgiving or Christmas he always chose Dec. 25.
This year, Collins Thanksgiving plans are up in the air. His wife Kathy is headed to Hawaii for the holiday because Duke is playing in this years Maui Invitational. Collins son Chris is a longtime assistant to Mike Krzyzewski, and he and his family will be in Maui for the eight-team tournament.
With the NBA lockout now 140 days old and negotiations ceasing, it would seem the ideal time for Collins to make the nearly 5,000 mile journey to be with his family on Turkey Day. But he wont, because he is the eternal optimist.
I think somewhere along the line we are all going to understand the importance of playing, Collins said, referring to the lockout coming to an end. I think it is going to get done. Sometimes it seems like when things are at their toughest moments, cooler heads prevail. These are all very intelligent people so I do think there is going to be NBA basketball.
When that happens, Collins does not want to be 5,000 miles away from the team he cant wait to get back to work with.
The chances of the owners and players doing an about face in the next seven days is unlikely but thats the pessimist in me.
This season would have been Collins second as the Sixers lead man. While he is currently being deprived of trying to improve on his 41-41 2010-11 record, he is not being deprived of basketball.
Last weekend, Collins took his entire staff down to Duke. They got to see two Blue Devil victories, and then on Sunday, the Sixers coaching staff watched Collins son Chris present the scouting report to Coach Ks squad for what turned out to be victory 903, a win over Michigan State that made Krzyzewski the all-time winningest basketball coach in Division I history.
In true Collins fashion, he had a statistic to share about Coach K and the uniqueness of his milestone achievement.
I think Coach K was 111-105 (record) after his first five years in coaching, Collins explained. In this climate you are not going to get another Coach K. Dean Smith was burned in effigy as a young coach at North Carolina were in a quick fix society. I think one of the guys Coach K appreciates as much as anybody is Tom Butters who hired he and Steve Spurrier as the football coach and when things werent going great and people wanted to fire Coach K or have his head, Butters stood behind him.
With Collins, there is always an interesting story to be shared, which is why no matter what happens with the NBA, Collins will be a real treat to listen to next summer when he returns to the broadcast booth to call the Olympic basketball games for NBC.
Fans can only hope that they hear Collins talking hoops long before the 2012 games in London.
Hip hip hooray for Harris
Sunday, new Sixers owner Joshua Harris will be running in the Philadelphia Marathon. Last year, Harris ran the New York marathon in an impressive 3 hours and 53 minutes.
Collins is a fan of his new boss and is a little jealous of his athletic prowess.
When I was playing before I retired, one of my goals was to run a marathon, Collins said. But what happened, I blew out my knee, my feet were bad and I couldnt do it. But I always wanted to run a marathon. So we are excited that Josh is running Sunday and afterwards hes having a party at the Wells Fargo Center.
I might be in charge of icing down his calves afterwards, Im not sure.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org